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Massachusetts Unemployment Rate – Q1 – Q2 2017

Over the last 6 months, the regional economy has been moving at a slower rate than the overall US economy.

Our Unemployment Rate is tracking along with these slight reductions in Statewide GDP.

The Unemployment rate for May 2017 came in at 4.2%, up, from April at 3.9%.

The primary factor to the jump in the Unemployment Rate can be related to a statewide workforce participation rate of 66.7%, an increase of 1.7% going back one year to May 2016. Having greater a participation rates add more people to the labor market pool.

A secondary factor is that the State GDP has been stagnant to negative going back to late 2016. Some benchmark data points to growth of 1.2% for Q4-2016 and a retraction of .07% for Q1-2017.

However, 4.2% is stable and still lower than the US rate of 4.3%.

How does Massachusetts stack up against other states? We are safely in the top 10. Here is a sample:

  • Colorado 2.3%
  • North Dakota 2.5%
  • New Hampshire 2.6%
  • Arkansas 3.4%
  • Oregon 3.6%
  • MASSACHUSETTS 4.2%
  • Washington 4.5%
  • California 4.7%
  • Mississippi 4.9%

Low unemployment does not necessarily indicate economic growth, For example, North Dakota and New Hampshire have nominal labor pools to draw from. While there is a skill shortage, which is good for candidates, business output levels are abbreviated due the lack of skilled workers.

Our clients are telling us that there is current and projected demand for skilled workers and that they do not anticipate any slow down over the next 2-3 quarters.

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